Did You Notice the Bee in What They Died For?

People in my hometown called him the Bee Man. I called him Dad. I grew up around these beautiful but terrifying creatures. They have two sides - the stinger and the honey. One I grew to hate. The other, I grew to love. I never got stung while working with my father, even though the bees often swarmed over me or crawled down my shirt, leaving me in a cold sweat as my father whispered, "Be still." I did experience the fantastic taste of honey right out of the honeycomb, though. Many times. I have to tell you, there is nothing like it in the world.

My experience with bees is probably what made me notice two very interesting uses of the insect in LOST.

In House of the Rising Sun, Charlie sneaks off to take a hit of heroin. Before he can, though, he steps on a hive of bees. Locke instructs him to stand still, and Jack tries to switch out Charlie for a piece of luggage - Indiana Jones style. But Charlie gets stung and then moves, breaking open the hive. Jack, Kate, Locke, and Charlie all take off running. They run into the caves, stripping off their clothes, to escape the sting of the bees.

It is this incident that leads them to discover the bodies of Adam and Eve and the black and white gemstones. We see this same scene in a flashback in Across the Sea.

In What they Died For, in the alt timeline, as one-armed Ben is leaving the school and walking with Alex, in the background we pass a poster/sign attached to the school's exterior wall. It is yellow and black and says Bees and has a picture of a bee on it. I didn't make out the rest of the sign.

These are the only two known uses of the bee in LOST, but stay with me. I think the usage is intentional. In the first example, the bees lead us to discover Adam and Eve, who are actually the dead bodies of a mother and her "adopted" son. The second example occurs as we walk along with a living father and his "adopted" daughter. Such poetic usage of the bee intrigues me.

In the ancient mystery schools, bees are a widely used symbol representing the bridge between the this world and the underworld. In mythology, Apollo claims to have received his gift of prophecy from three bee-maidens. In modern mystic orders, such as the Rosicrucians, bees symbolize the alchemy of the soul - humanity's transformation from the ordinary (think pollen) to the ideal state (think honey). For Rosicrucians, the rose on the Rosy Cross is where the bee finds the alchemical catalyst - the pollen. Legend has it that a bee landed on the lips of infant Plato, granting him eloquent speech and a poetic pen. In Christianity, as early as the second and third centuries, the bee became associated with the resurrection of Jesus. In the annual cycle of life, bees would "disappear" for three months and then return in the Spring, bringing with them new life and honey. This alluded to the three days between Jesus' death and his resurrection.

I believe the symbol of the bee has been used intentionally to symbolize both resurrection and the ideal state of the soul. In the first example above, the bees attack. They sting. They send us running. They lead us to the tragic moment when murdered Mother and murderous son are laid side by side by the grieving Jacob. In the second example, the bee is a happy symbol, waving at us from a school poster that peaks out between Ben and Alex. This alt Ben is good - he is taking care of his ailing father. He has saved Locke from a second hit-and-run. He sacrificed a career move for Alex to help her achieve his goals. And Alex herself? She adores Ben. She has been accepted to the college of her choice. Her mother dotes on her.

These are poetic bookends to our story. In the beginning, the bee brings us the sting of death, tragedy, loss, and despair. In the end, though, the bee buzzes with life around a father and "daughter" who care a great deal about each other. They are full of hope and life. They are experiencing the milk and honey of the promised land. They are living in the ideal state. Ben represents the ideal state of the soul, having turned out quite differently than his doppelganger in the original timeline. Alex is alive, not dead, representing the hope of resurrection and salvation from the sting of tragedy and death.

I can't wait for The End to see how the final lines of this magnificent poem called LOST ends. I can already taste the sweet honey.


--Mystimus 00:23, May 21, 2010 (UTC)

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